variants or meagre

Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective meager differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of meager are scanty, scant, skimpy, spare, and sparse. While all these words mean "falling short of what is normal, necessary, or desirable," meager implies the absence of elements, qualities, or numbers necessary to a thing's richness, substance, or potency.

a meager portion of meat

When is scant a more appropriate choice than meager?

The synonyms scant and meager are sometimes interchangeable, but scant suggests a falling short of what is desired or desirable rather than of what is essential.

in January the daylight hours are scant

When would scanty be a good substitute for meager?

The words scanty and meager can be used in similar contexts, but scanty stresses insufficiency in amount, quantity, or extent.

supplies too scanty to last the winter

When can skimpy be used instead of meager?

While in some cases nearly identical to meager, skimpy usually suggests niggardliness or penury as the cause of the deficiency.

tacky housing developments on skimpy lots

When might spare be a better fit than meager?

The meanings of spare and meager largely overlap; however, spare may suggest a slight falling short of adequacy or merely an absence of superfluity.

a spare, concise style of writing

In what contexts can sparse take the place of meager?

The words sparse and meager are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, sparse implies a thin scattering of units.

a sparse population

Thesaurus Entries Near meager

Cite this Entry

“Meager.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/meager. Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

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